Happy Mother’s Day from a very blessed editor of dakotawarcollege.com

I’m finally back at SDWC headquarters, in uniform (I’m in my basement wearing my jammies) after a long day on the road from Missouri, where my wife scattered her late mother’s ashes on Table Rock Lake, in an area where her parents lived for many years as part of their retirement.

In a weekend where my wife remembered her mom, who worked for several years at the Argus Leader when they lived in Sioux Falls, it’s fitting that I take a moment to honor the two mothers that influence me the most significantly.

Of course, the first is my mom, Kay, pictured here before I was around at the World’s Fair in Queens, NY.   Mom passed away from Breast Cancer right before Thanksgiving in 2000, after her cancer metastasized throughout her system.

Mom’s only education past high school was a vocational nurse’s training program, but in addition to being a Registered Nurse (and later a school nurse for the Pierre Public School system) she was a savvy businesswoman who made up for what she lacked in formal education by working hard and teaching herself.  Over the years, she ran two small businesses in Pierre, an antique store and an auction company, and as her oldest, I was often drug along for the ride (whether I liked it or not).

From mom I learned a lot of things. Lessons about hard work (I pale to her energy, but I’m as much of a workaholic as she was), running your own small business, as well as other pieces of knowledge she tried to pass on to me. In her last five years, after she had first been diagnosed with cancer and was horribly ill from chemotherapy, she even demanded I follow her commands on how to butcher a deer – right there on her kitchen table – because it was something she thought I should learn.

She also taught me lessons about life. When it was time for an auction sale, she was known at times to hire people who might be down on their luck, because there’s dignity in work, and equal to her needing the help, it helped them.

Mom grew up as a child of divorce in the 40’s and 50’s when most didn’t do that, and I think that there were times when they didn’t have a lot of money, or stability, until my grandmother married her third husband, who I knew as my grandfather until the day he died.

Which brings to mind a lesson she made a point to make about family. When I was engaged, she told me to never bring a complaint about my wife to her. She said that there are good times and bad in a marriage. And as her son, she would always take my side, whether I was right or wrong, because that’s what parents do. She pointed out a cousin whose wife always ran to her parents to complain about him. And eventually, instead of encouraging them to work things out, her parents pushed her to divorce.

There are lots of people who have challenging times in their marriage, and plenty that end in divorce. But, as my mom intended to impress upon me, if you can avoid stacking the deck against success by not encouraging your family’s opposition your spouse over simple disagreements or minor issues, I consider that to be fairly sound advice, especially after celebrating my 25th anniversary last year with my wife.

Speaking of my life-partner, and mother of my seven children, my wife Michelle is of course the other mom who influences me greatly. Among many things, the quality I most admire about her is her lifelong desire to learn, continually improve, and to try to elevate her craft and skill in her field, in her case, education.

During our relationship (we were engaged after about 2-3 weeks), she’s gone from Special Education teacher at Elk Point, to Dept of Ed employee in the Office of Special Ed, to State Director of Special Ed, to Director of Special Ed for a School District (it paid more than the State of SD job).  And now this fall, she’s fulfilling a goal she’s had for many years, which is to return to the classroom to teach the next generation of Special Educators as a college professor at Augustana University. If all goes as planned, she’ll also be “hooded” at the December graduation ceremony at USD as “Dr. Powers.”

It’s not easy being a career-minded woman, who puts up with me, is the mother of seven children, active in the community, active in professional associations, all at the same time she’s worked on and completed a Masters Degree, a Specialist in Education Degree, and as of this December, a Doctoral Degree.

Back when we lived in Pierre, I remember a friend relating a story where her daughter was complaining about her college workload, and this woman’s retort to her child was, “Michelle Powers is working full time, is in the middle of her master’s degree, just played last month in the orchestra of the play, and is down at the hospital having her fourth child. Don’t complain to me about your workload.”

While my mom was a person possessing a high school education, as well as a Catholic voc-ed nursing certificate, and my wife has several degrees, they were/are both remarkable mothers to me, as at the same time they raised large families, they both had that same super-human energy, and a hunger to continue reaching for knowledge, to improve, and to reach new goals.

In remembrance of my Mom, Kay, and my wife, Michelle. Happy Mother’s Day.

5 thoughts on “Happy Mother’s Day from a very blessed editor of dakotawarcollege.com”

  1. Pat, great post. Your mom would be (and is) proud of you. As we get older the veil between earth and heaven seems to get thinner and you can hold on the assurance you’ll see her again.

  2. Pat,

    Most men don’t have the courage to write something which basically says “I out-kicked my coverage” when it comes to their spouse.

  3. Your mom was more than an influence on you – my short time as her daughter in law left me hoping to learn to be least a shadow of how fantastic she was. But of course, I don’t hunt so that’s probably impossible.

    And even thought I don’t actually read SDWC, I very much appreciate the sentiments you shared. And at least this time you didn’t post anything embarrassing.

    Love Mrs SDWC

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